Busted Halo
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Mike Hayes :
271 article(s)

Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
April 20th, 2006
A Guide to the new reality show God or the Girl
With its mix of equal parts “The Bachelor” and “Jackass” with a spiritual twist, A&E’s new reality series, “God or the Girl” has people talking. The five-part show follows the lives of four young men who struggle with making a decision to pursue studying for the priesthood instead of staying in a relationship with a significant other. The four “contestants” offer an accurate reflection of the diversity of young adult faith experiences, ranging from highly pious to the irreverent. While “God or the Girl” makes an attempt to honestly portray how these men struggle with their decision, it sometimes stoops to sprinkling in stupid…
January 25th, 2006
A Portland parish becomes devoted to the environment
On the long list of social justice causes that the Catholic Church advocates for, issues like poverty and the right to life are usually foremost in people’s minds. But, with the help of their pastor, a parish in the Pacific Northwest has rallied around their concern for the environment with a fervor that has not only enabled them to have a significant, tangible impact on their surrounding community but also illuminated a neglected area of Catholic Social thought that continues to grow in relevance. When Paulist Father Steve Bossi was assigned to St. Phillip Neri parish in Portland, Oregon, he was excited to return to the Pacific Northwest where he grew up, but he knew he was going to face a huge challenge in…
January 19th, 2006
John Paul II gave us a moment that we need to remember

When Pope John Paul II's would-be assasin, Mehmet Ali Agca, was released from a Turkish jail last week after serving almost 25 years behind bars — except for the complete transformation of his hair from jet black to grey—the man who emerged looked strikingly similar to the person who inhabits one of the more enduring images that I hold dear of the late pope. In that scene John Paul is huddled in a corner talking quietly at close range with the man who tried to kill him. It was an extraordinary act of forgiveness that continues to be extremely rare—if not unheard of — on the world stage and one I don't remember nearly enough in my own life.

After Agca shot John Paul II six times at close range while thousands of pilgrims looked on in St. Peter's Square, people around the world were shocked. "Who would want to kill a Pope?" was the question on many people's lips. "He should get the chair," my mother remarked angrily. And we all agreed.

Breaking the endless cycle

It was an understandable reaction. Think about it, how often do any of us forgive or ask forgiveness for the many comparatively small transgressions in our own lives? How often in our history books, filled with accounts of hatred and violence, do we come across unpredictable acts like this that break the endless cycle of vengeance? Months after his recovery, the Pope's visit to his attacker in prison was a radical step in a different direction. He looked at his would-be killer in the eye, conversed with him, shook his hand, and even prayed for him!

January 4th, 2006
The controversial Catholic author talks about his new book on one of the Church's oldest prayers
As a cultural historian and author, Garry Wills has spent more than three decades researching and writing on historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan (his Lincoln at Gettsyburg won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for nonfiction) but it is as a writer on religion that Wills has been making his mark of late. With books like Papal Sin (2000), St. Augustine’s Memory (2002) and Why I Am A Catholic (2002) Wills has been both an outspoken advocate for and critic of the Catholic church. His latest book, The Rosary, is both a history of one of Catholicism’s oldest practices as well as a prayer guide. Wills debunks myths surrounding the origins of the rosary and brings to light many…
December 24th, 2005
Reflections on St. Joseph from a soon-to-be adoptive father
As Christmas Day draws closer and crèche scenes start to pop up in New York City, I inevitably begin to think about the Holy Family. But this Christmas, as my wife and I begin the process of adopting a child, I find myself drawn closer to the life of St. Joseph than ever before. Imagine Joseph’s surprise when, in his old age, he accepts Mary as his betrothed only to find out later that she is pregnant. By law, Joseph had the right to stone Mary. So the first intended audience for the gospel must have found it quite surprising that Joseph decided to simply “divorce her quietly.” A second surprise is that this choice causes Joseph so much angst that he can not even sleep soundly. A dream instructs…
September 21st, 2005
The poor serving the poor in Nicaragua
I set off on my recent mission trip to Nicaragua with every intention of spending a week in service to poor orphans and with the hope that the encounter would deepen my relatively limited, first-world perspective on poverty. My perspective was indeed startlingly altered by my time there but in a way that was completely unexpected. My wife and I had gone to help out at Hogar Belen, a home for abandoned and disabled children, and found ourselves instead assisiting the orphanage in their outreach to those even less fortunate than themselves. An orphanage helping the poor…? I thought the orphans were the poor. Twice a month the staff of Hogar Belen, heads to the city dump to hand out food. The orphanage itself is…
September 11th, 2005
"Pay It Forward"
Kim Statkevicus had it all. A successful, loving husband, a great house in the suburbs, a 13 month old son and another child on the way—the picture perfect American dream. But on September 11, 2001 Kim’s husband, Derek was among the many killed in the World Trade Center. As she began to mourn the loss of her husband complete strangers came rushing to her aid. “Derek died in a very public way,” she said in a recent phone interview, “so the outpouring of support for me was immense. Because I was pregnant I received so much stuff, and it just kept on coming in. While I was very grateful, I also wondered what I was going to do with [all of it], much of which I didn’t need.” Kim (pictured…
May 17th, 2005
Finding God through rewinding
For years my mother has been dealing with a host of medical problems. Since I was 9 years old, I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t sick. Often I’ve sat by her hospital bedside comforting her while I was falling apart inside. When the depression that accompanies pain and illness enveloped her, my father and sister would grow increasingly depressed as well. As a teenager and throughout my young adulthood, I have usually been the one who has talked my family off of the proverbial ledge. But in helping to guide my family through their dark moments I have sometimes felt that—though both my mother and father are still alive—I have lost my parents. I have become the grown-up now, the parent of my…
May 1st, 2005
CNN's Vatican analyst and National Catholic Reporter correspondent sits down with BustedHalo to talk about the death of John Paul II, the election of Pope Benedict and where the Catholic Church is headed
If you happened to be anywhere near a television set during the extensive media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict, chances are you are familiar with John Allen Jr. Allen, who serves as a Vatican analyst for CNN and NPR in additon to his role as correspondent for National Catholic Reporter seemed omnipresent during those weeks as he helped interpret the breaking news at the Vatican for American viewers. Just seven weeks after the installation of Pope Benedict, his new book The Rise of Benedict XVI: The inside story of how the pope was elected and where he will take the Catholic Church, has hit the shelves. On the eve of its June 7th release, Allen, 40, stopped by BustedHalo’s…
April 19th, 2005
Coming to terms with Benedict's papacy
As the Papal conclave closed, fear crept into my heart. “Anybody but Ratzinger,” I prayed. Moments before the announcement of who was to succeed Pope John Paul II I even said to myself, “If it’s Ratzinger, I’m becoming an Episcopalian.” After my fears were confirmed, I cringed as the white-haired German whom many liberal Catholics have come to despise emerged on the balcony at St. Peter’s. In his former job, as the head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the Cardinal Ratzinger was tenacious. He abhorred relativism, silenced liberal theologians, and published a document called Dominus Iesus, that stated that religions other than Catholicism…
April 3rd, 2005
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code receives a cold cut
What fascinated me about the hugely popular novel The Da Vinci Code was not whether Dan Brown’s gargantuan best-seller had a shred of truth in it but rather that so many people found it to be plausible. Brown cleverly took some alleged rumors and wove them together to try to create a tale that people would find spellbinding and maybe even a bit controversial. My own thought after reading the book was: “Could people really be this stupid?” If the New York Times best seller list is any indication, they are. Fortunately, Davis Sweet’s parody, entitled…
April 3rd, 2005
Two perspectives on how to interpret young adults' commitment to Catholicism
More and more seek a robust orthodoxy by Colleen Carroll Campbell Conventional wisdom among America’s chattering classes has long held that the Catholic Church’s teachings are too tough and countercultural to appeal to the next generation. But two months ago young adults from around the world defied that conventional wisdom by pouring into Rome to bid farewell to Pope John Paul II. Gathering some 4 million strong for his funeral, an overwhelmingly young crowd packed every inch of St. Peter’s Square to pray for the pope and celebrate the traditional Catholic faith that he had taught them to love. Their reverence and enthusiasm for the church and its leader surprised many that day, but their…
March 2nd, 2005
A Journey of Faith From MTV to the Priesthood
Before he reached 30, Dave Dwyer had already achieved some pretty significant career goals in the field of television. The Syracuse University graduate had started out filing video tapes at MTV and quickly became involved in on-air production. By the time he was 25 he was directing a talk show for the newly launched Comedy Central cable channel. Though he was well on his way to bigger and better things in television, Dwyer’s life took a rather sudden turn when he felt a strong call to the priesthood while attending the World Youth Day rally in 1993. Soon after, he left the entertainment industry and entered the Paulists. Bill McGarvey and Mike Hayes sat down with Father Dave to talk about everything from Adam…
February 8th, 2005
Murderball is a phenomenal look at the sport of Quad Rugby
Moments before the Paralypmic Games in Athens, Scott Hogsett, recounts an encounter with a family member who called him a “Special Olympian.” A comment that made him want to rip her head off and spike it. ”We’re not going for a hug” he told her “we’re going for a gold medal.” A similar attitude is at the heart of Murderball, a fantastic documentary about the growing paralympic sport of Quad Rugby and the men for whom this sport is an obsession. Imagine hulking, disabled men ramming into each other in Mad Max style wheelchairs. The deafening sound that each crash makes resembling a garbage can thrown off the top of a building to the pavement below. The athletes in this movie (and, disabled or not, that’s…
January 5th, 2005
Our Top 10 easy ways to reach out to Southeast Asia
What has happened in Asia is simply overwhelming. The numbers of dead are expected to grow to over 125,000. More than 1.8 million people need food aid, and an estimated five million people have been made homeless. You may feel unsure where to donate money, given all the choices. BustedHalo.com has attempted to find some options to make it easy for you to assist our brothers and sisters who are facing devastating odds. Option One: Help Provide Clean Drinking Water The drinking water in many of the affected areas is now contaminated. Many people have also been displaced. Experts warn that unsafe drinking water would likely kill many thousands more people. There is a water purification technology though that can help…
December 25th, 2004
Does Jesus Need the Jolly Fat Guy in Red?
I’m nine years old and I hear the footsteps of my mother making her way through our “railroad” apartment to my bedroom where I’m diligently doing my homework. She arrives at the foot of my bed, December 1, 1979, and asks the dreaded question: “Michael, you don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore, do you?” As if I now had a choice… My mother basically told me (without telling me) that Santa was a sham. To believe now would make me a rube, someone who fell off the turnip sleigh from the North Pole . “Nah, of course not, mom,” I replied with a smile, as only a nine-year-old affecting machismo could. I was a big boy now and didn’t have time for fairy tales. But…
December 25th, 2004
The challenge of Christmas
It’s my job to put together the manger scene each year in my house. I get out the animals, and the 3 Kings (who don’t get to go into the manger until Epiphany), Joseph with his now broken hand and Mary, the heroine of the barn. Finally my favorite piece, the baby Jesus gets placed in the manger and all the statues stare and adore Baby-Lord. God is exactly where I like Him—quiet and humble in a manger, lowly, unchallenging; easy to control. Seeing the Christ-child in the manger requires nothing on my part but the ability to sit, adore and presumably, convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. There is comfort indeed in Jesus’ silence as an unspeakable baby. God empties Himself, as a vulnerable little baby,…
December 16th, 2004
Clint Eastwood, my father and going the distance.
“Please kill me. I don’t want this anymore. Please kill me.” Three years ago, just a few weeks after my wedding, my 74-year-old mother spoke those haunting words to my father while she struggled to recover from a risky surgical procedure to repair her colon. Doctors had only given her a 25% chance of surviving and after the surgery, her recovery was slow and depression loomed large. She spent her days in anxiety and tears while my father watched her lose her will to live. Still, he traveled every day to be by her side. He slept little and worried much. My mother’s words rang in my ear this past weekend as I watched Clint Eastwood’s gripping tale, Million Dollar Baby (spoiler alert: Stop…
November 4th, 2004
Should Scott Peterson get the Death Penalty?
When I hear opponents to the death penalty speak about the criminals they hope to save from execution, they often mention that the decks were stacked against these criminals. An astonishing number of people who receive death sentences had upbringings fraught with poverty, abuse and addiction. Certainly there is some wisdom in considering someone’s background when judging their criminal behavior, but in the case of the death sentence recently handed down in California for Scott Peterson we can cast that argument aside. With Peterson, we are faced with a man who doesn’t fit the stereotypical profile of people on death row. He did not grow up disadvantaged. He was the captain of his high school golf…
October 31st, 2004
A Neighborhood Divided Local man hasn't had Trick or Treaters since the Reagan administration.
At first I thought it’s because of my mole, you know, the one here on my nose? Like, I don’t think it’s that big a deal anymore, I mean after the therapy and the cream. But sometimes people still make comments like “Technically speaking, you might want to consider listing that thing as a dependent?” silly stuff like that from my accountant. But I don’t think that’s any reason kids wouldn’t want candy. I mean, who doesn’t love candy? Especially the organic candy I have, which is, you know, healthy and all, not like all the processed garbage kids have these days. Honestly, who would want a “Milky Way” when you could have an organic oatmeal soy surprise?…
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